Do you find yourself striving to do things that will make God love you more?
Newsflash!! Stop now. Isaiah 64:6 is very clear...
All of us have become like one who is unclean,and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6
Most of us want to maintain the idea that we are a "good" person. However, as Isaiah is very clear to point out, there is nothing good about us that appeals to God. We are unclean...meaning we are unfit to be in God’s presence (Lev. 13:45, 46; Hag. 2:13, 14)
While we often feel good about our "best" deeds, God equates them to filthy rags. Ouch! And to make it even worse, the contextual meaning of filthy rags is garments stained by menstruation. (Lev. 15:19; Ezek. 36:17). No one is sinless in God’s sight (6:5; Job 15:14–16).
If we can't put ourselves in right standing with God by doing good, then how can we ever be made right and holy in God's eyes?
I'm glad you asked! Check out Titus 3:4-7 for starters:
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Jesus also tells us how to be brought into right standing with God the Father:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Only by repenting of our sinfulness and complete inability to do good and then trusting in the perfect life, death and resurrection of the God-man Jesus Christ, can we have complete forgiveness and have His perfect righteousness imputed (assigned) to us.
One last word from Isaiah that prophesied exactly what Christ has done:
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness... Isaiah 61:10